Your Long Weekend Must Haves...
Spice of Life
Wait…tomorrow is August? The long weekend is already here? Where has the first part of this summer gone?
It may have snuck up on us, but we’re not letting the long weekend pass us by without a proper celebration! We’ve brought together the perfect recipes for your weekend, including spectacular cocktails, delicious grilled recipes, the perfect dessert options, and more.
From Martha’s Kitchen: Zucchini Chocolate Bread
by: Martha Wright, Stratus Executive Chef
It’s that time of year again. If you have ever grown zucchini, you know what happens if you turn your back on the garden for even one day. What looks like a manageable zucchini one day becomes a monster the next. This is a great way to use those monsters, or any excess. It also helps to keep this bread very moist.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup grated zucchini (use large holes of a box grater)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350F, with rack in the middle.
- Oil and flour your loaf pan.
- In 1 bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, and grated zucchini.
- In a separate bowl, sift together your flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until there are no lumps. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Pour into your prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, check with a toothpick. It will most likely need more time, this is when I turn the oven down to 325F for the remaining 10 - 15 minutes. The lower the oven temperature, the likelier the exterior is to be fully baked, while the inside finishes.
- Once the tester comes out clean, allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Serve as is, or with whip cream, or ice cream. Enjoy!
BBQ Tips: Grilled Coleslaw
by: Sean Vodden, Sous Chef and Team Canada BBQ Chef, Stratus Restaurant
Looking for a delicious side dish for your barbecue? This grilled coleslaw is a summer favourite around my house.
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp soya sauce
- Canola oil to lightly oil the Napa
- Kosher salt to season
- Set grill to 400F.
- Cut Napa cabbage in half lengthwise.
- Lightly oil and season Napa cabbage.
- Place cabbage cut side down on your grill.
- Grill cabbage for approximately 5 - 7 minutes or until desired char attained.
- Roast bell pepper until fully charred on all sides.
- Once pepper is charred, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- If needed: defrost edamame.
- Combine mayo, gochujang, honey, sesame oil, and soya sauce in a bowl and adjust seasoning.
- Peel bell pepper.
- Slice Napa cabbage into desired thickness.
- Remove seeds from bell pepper and julienne.
- Combine cabbage, pepper, and edamame into a medium sized bowl and add the desired amount of dressing.
- Feel free to adjust the seasoning in the dressing, as you may like your dressing a bit sweeter or spicier etc.
Summer Cocktail: Moscow Mule
by: Kyla Markland, Bar Manager, Stratus Restaurant
The weather has been so lovely lately and we’ve absolutely loved spending time in the warm sunshine. But, that time is ALWAYS improved with a refreshing cocktail in hand. Your cocktail for this long weekend? An icy cold Moscow Mule!
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 1 oz lime juice
- 4 oz ginger beer
- Fresh mint
- Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice.
- Add lime juice.
- Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice and fresh mint.
Cooking with Neesha: Moules et Frites
by: Neesha de Souza Miljanovic, Food & Beverage Manager, The HUB – kitchen and bar
This very simple and quick meal, will make you look and feel fancy, all from the comfort of your own home! For best results, buy your mussels fresh that day from your local fish butcher.
- 2 lbs mussels
- 1 medium sized white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cup shredded spinach or kale
- 500 g of frozen shoestring French fries
- Optional – bread to dip in sauce after!
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Arrange frozen fries on a greased baking tray.
- Bake for 8 minutes then flip and bake for another 6 - 8 minutes or until crispy.
- Follow these instructions to wash the mussels before cooking.
- Slice the onion, chop the garlic, and chop the greens.
- Heat butter in a large pot on medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic, then cook for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add white wine and let cook for another 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add cream and chopped greens and bring to a boil.
- Add mussels and cover for 10 - 12 minutes or until all mussels have opened.
- Remove from heat, uncover, mix, and remove any unopened mussels.
Serve and enjoy!
Tip: We saved the remainder of the sauce, reduced it, and used it for grilled fish another day!
Quick and Easy Recipes: Cold Pasta Salad
by: George Vavaroutsos, Sous Chef, Stratus Restaurant
Creating a cold pasta salad can be challenging for some! Below you'll find some tips and tricks to help create a delicious salad and a recipe to go along with it.
There are four crucial parts in making sure your pasta salad turns into a winner:
1.) Cooking your pasta in generously salted water. Also making sure to fully cook your pasta as al dente is great for hot food but will become too firm when eaten cold.
2.) Seasoning correctly. Cold foods become muted, so you'll find you need to be more aggressive when seasoning. Instead of rinsing your pasta after cooking, try applying dressing when the noodles are warm and then cooling, this is a great way to maximize flavour!
3.) Speaking of dressings, picking the right dressing is essential. Oil and vinegar-based dressings or a thinned mayonnaise/yogurt base are great choices.
4.) Cutting and cooking vegetables and other elements of your salad ahead of time. Not only does this allow you to get more flavour in, but also allows you to pair the textures of the fully cooked pasta to your delicious toppings.
Below you'll find a great southwestern take on a pasta salad:
- 8 oz. multigrain or whole-wheat penne
- 8 oz. lean boneless sirloin steak
- 1/2 tsp. each ground cumin
- 3 medium Poblano chile peppers
- 1 ear fresh corn
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 c. lime juice
- 1/2 c. Chopped cilantro
- Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water as package directs. Drain; rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
- Heat outdoor grill. Rub steak with 1/4 tsp each of the cumin, salt and pepper. Coat steak, peppers, corn and onion with a little bit of olive oil.
- Grill steak 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, for medium-rare. Remove to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.
- Grill peppers, corn and onion 8 to 10 minutes, turning as needed until lightly charred and tender.
- Cut peppers and onion into bite-size pieces and cut corn off cob; add to bowl with pasta.
- Slice steak thinly against the grain and add to bowl.
- Add remaining cumin, salt and pepper and remaining ingredients to bowl; toss to mix and coat.
Neighbourhood Gems: Hooked
by Evan Middleton, Supervisor, Stratus Restaurant
Hooked is one of the finest fishmongers in town. With an impressive selection of seafood, very knowledgeable staff, and a focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility, you couldn’t ask for more.
They work directly with independent fisheries to provide the highest quality seafood available and they can tell you exactly where it came from and when. There are plenty of wild and farmed fish options available as well as lots of house made goodies, including smoked fish, dips, spreads, marinades, soups, and more.
The Hooked website is incredibly helpful, offering a detailed list of what they have to offer, cooking tips on methods of preparing seafood, wonderful recipe ideas, as well as information on their ethical practices and relationships with suppliers. It’s clear that they are passionate about what they do and want to provide the best possible products to their customers. The shops are currently open for walk-in, curbside pick-up or delivery (even on small orders) and they are easy to find with locations in Kensington Market, Leslieville, on the Danforth, and South Kingsway.